However, whilst defeat at the polls will remove Brown it may not break his dedicated parliamentary support. The plans, plots, schemes and ploys against the PM have been so numerous that his survival cannot be solely ascribed to the would-be regicides’ cowardice; incredibly, the parliamentary party must believe that Brown is the man for the job. Brown’s political genius is internal intrigue. Over 20 years he has amassed a cabal, which, when Chancellor, he used in vainglorious shows of strength, such as the Tuition fees division. Recently, he has used it to clobber nascent plots. One plotter tells Jonathan Freedland that 'Team Brown would crush any plot' at the moment of its conception. Brown’s bodyguard will be perpetuated by his heir, Ed Balls – and the sins of the father have most certainly been inherited by the son.
If Balls holds his seat, Labour will descend into civil war. A struggle that should have been decided in a ballot, rather than over a few grappas at Granita, will be resolved in opposition by the next generation. It will be bitter and bloody, and Labour will be unelectable.